Ski season begins in Colorado and California as Park City prepares |

Ski season begins in Colorado and California as Park City prepares

Swift Communications

The first four skiers up the mountain stand in front of the opening day banner, awating the first ski lift of the season.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo.— Steamboat Ski Area will start spinning the lifts Wednesday with access to the slopes via the Christie Peak Express lift.

The ski area then plans to open the Gondola on Thursday providing access to Heavenly Daze.

Thanks to snowmaking, the ski area will be able to open on schedule.

"Our system and our team are so prepared for taking advantage of those little cold windows," said Dave Hunter, vice president of mountain operations.

Wednesday is Scholarship Day, and season passes cannot be used. Tickets will be sold for $25, with proceeds going to the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club.

Since its inception more than 25 years ago, Scholarship Day has generated $1 million for the Winter Sports Club.

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The Outlaw Mountain Coaster will also be making its winter season debut Wednesday. Coaster tickets will cost $20, and the ride will be open from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Skiers will have access to five trails Wednesday — Sitz, Sitz Back, Jess' Cut-Off, Vogue and Stampede, as well as a pocket park.

Free parking will be available at the Meadows and Knoll lots, and SnowSports School will be offering lessons.

To celebrate the start of the season, the first 100 skiers to load Christie Peak Express will receive a free T-shirt.

The ski area has seen 35 inches of pre-season snow at mid-mountain. Over the weekend, 5.5 inches of snow fell on the ski area.

Snowmakers at the ski area have been waiting for the cold weather to arrive so they could get to work.

"The big game-changer for us was the last 48 hours," Hunter said Monday.

Other ski areas have not been so fortunate.

For the second consecutive year, Vail announced it was delaying its opening by a week. Vail will now open Wednesday.

Vail Mountain moves opening up one day

After delaying its opening by a week, Vail Mountain is now moving it forward a day with a Wednesday kickoff to the 2017-18 season.

Vail officials had planned a Thanksgiving Day opening after having to postpone the originally scheduled Nov. 17 Opening Day because of poor snow conditions. But a snowstorm Friday combined with colder overnight temperatures was enough for resort officials to feel confident with a Wednesday opening.

Vail's Opening Day will feature skiing and riding on the Born Free trail accessed via the Born Free Express lift.

Beaver Creek's Opening Day will feature skiing and riding on Gold Dust and Haymeadow trails accessed via the Centennial Express and Buckaroo Gondola lifts.

The chairs start turning at 9 a.m. Wednesday at both resorts.

"Vail's mountain operations team was able to take full advantage of the colder temperatures and natural snowfall during the last several days, allowing us to move up our Opening Day to Wednesday," said Doug Lovell, Vail chief operating officer, in a Monday afternoon news release. "We are excited to be able to join Beaver Creek in opening on Wednesday and believe it gives our guests options heading into the Thanksgiving holiday."

Hordes of skiers, boarders assemble for opening day at Winter Park Resort

Residents and visitors alike gathered around the Gemini Express on Wednesday, Nov. 16 to celebrate the opening of Winter Park Resort. Snow blew off trees and rooftops, gently dusting an eager crowd, giddy with the prospect of carving the first tracks of the year into the storied slopes of the Winter Park territory.

At 9 a.m. the first riders tore through the opening day banner, and began their ascent, officially kicking off the 2017-18 season.

"I think given the context of what's been happening with other ski resorts, for us just being opened felt like a great achievement," said Steve Hurlbert, director of public relations for Winter Park, alluding to the delayed openings at Vail and Eldora. "All the kudos go to our snowmakers and maintenance folks for getting us ready. People were just so happy that we were open. It was just four runs, nothing too exciting. But people had a great time getting to ski, and the context made it even a little bit more special."

Squaw Valley ski resort opens; hundreds line up to take first turns on mountain

Hundreds of skiers and snowboarders lined up at Squaw Valley on Friday morning, Nov. 17, to take their first turns of the season on the mountain.

The resort said Friday that it received 7 inches of snow in the last 24 hours, which made for solid conditions particularly at higher elevations. Two lifts, nine open trails, and four groomed runs were open.

Weather conditions are also good with a mix of sun and clouds hanging over the resort.

The temperature at the crest was 24 degrees, as of 11:30 a.m., and 31 degrees on the lower mountain with a slight wind.

Neighboring Alpine Meadows is scheduled to open on Saturday, Nov. 18.

Alpine Meadows also received 7 inches of snow within 24 hours, including 4 inches overnight, prior to opening.